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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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The Scripture meaning of this name was not as opprobrious as it is in modern times. A concubine, indeed, in all ages, was not as highly ranked as a wife. She was ever considered as secondary and subordinate to the person to whom the husband and father of the family was married. But in those dark and ignorant times, when men were allowed (or rather allowed themselves), many wives, a concubine meant, one that he acknowledged for a wife, or a subordinate and inferior degree. And the children of this connection did not, by any right of their own, possess or claim the inheritance of their father. And there was this farther distinction between the lawful wife, and the concubine, there was no religious ceremony used at the taking of a concubine; whereas, the lawful wife was usually betrothed to her husband before marriage, and sometimes, from the very childhood of the respective parties. And when the time appointed for the consummation of the marriage arrived, this was always done with great order and solemnity: and all the friends of the respective parties were invited to the wedding. I hope the reader will not lose sight of the marriage of Jesus with our nature, in this view of the subject, and will remember, that the union of Christ with his church, is uniformly set forth in the most blessed similitudes and figures of this kind through the whole Bible. Jesus was set up, as the glorious Head and Husband of his church, from everlasting. And, in fact, the whole of the union, in the present state, is but a betrothing. (See Hosea 2:19-20) At the final consummation of all things, Jesus will bring home his bride, and then will be the marriage-supper of the Lamb in heaven. (Revelation 19:9)

I beg to make a farther observation on this subject, while I am upon it, and to call the reader to remark with me, that even in those times of ignorance, when men gave loose to their corrupt affections, yet, the very law of usage concerning concubines carried with it a decided testimony, that even in the very moment they gavel way to their unbridled passions, yet, by the reverence shewn the lawful wife, they tacitly confessed the just and honourable appointment of the Lord. It was well known, and well understood, that at the beginning the Lord made our first parents, and united them together; teaching, that when thus formed in holy wedlock, they were no longer considered, in His eye, as separate, but one. The Lord himself said, "They shall be one flesh?" And our Lord's own comment upon it decidedly determines the point. "What therefore (saith Jesus) God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Compare Genesis 2:24 with Mark 10:9) Now the introduction of a concubine, of how inferior a degree soever she may be, is, to all intents and purposes, a destroying this junction, and, by so much, a breach of the original appointment of the Lord.

And it were devoutly to be wished, that men would consider the subject in this point of view, for it is to be apprehended, by what passeth too often in common life, men have not accustomed themselves to this consideration of it. I am not now taking up the subject in respect to the sad immorality of it, though the awful consequences, in the instances of thousands, too loudly condemn daily the breach of the marriage vow on that score; but I am carrying the matter higher, in shewing the awfulness of it, as a defiance of the divine appointment. Hence, when the Pharisees came to our Lord to ask the question about putting away their wives, and pleaded Moses's permission in certain cases, our Lord expressly said, that Moses's permission was from the hardness of their heart, but from the beginning (saith Jesus), it was not so. The man and woman once united in wedlock, were no longer separable but by death. (Matthew 19:3-9) And his servant, the apostle, finished the matter from his Master's authority, when he saith, "Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:2)

I must not finish the subject without first desiring the reader to take with him that sweet thought, that in the marriage of the Lord Jesus with our nature (which the marriage-state in nature is a type of), both in the general purpose of it with his church at large, and with the person of every individual member of his mystical body in particular, there is no concubine to interrupt the present and everlasting happiness of our union with Christ Jesus. Though we have, indeed, proved unfaithful, yet hath not Jesus. Though, we have played the harlot with many lovers, yet still he saith, "I am married to you, saith the Lord." Oh! what unknown, what unspeakable glory is there in those words of our Lord—"I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies; I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord." (Hosea 2:19-20. See the whole chapter [Hosea 2:1-23].)

And think reader, what will it be in that day of final consummation, when the Lord shall bring home his church, and every individual of his mystical body shall be found one with the Lord, in an everlasting union never to be dissolved! Oh, the joy in Jesus's own declaration, "At that day ye shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you!" (John 14:20)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Concubine'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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